This plan carries a prolific amount of detail: brick and stone buildings are shown in red, wooden and iron in yellow, with glass skylights in blue. Other symbols and abbreviations are explained in the accompanying key.

Fire insurance plans developed from the specific requirements of insurance underwriters. They needed accurate large-scale maps of the major urban centres to enable them to assess the risk attached to an insurance proposal for any given building. Also, in an age where large fires were much more common than today, they had to be aware of the geographical spread of their clients’ properties in order to avoid concentrating all their risks in one group of buildings.

Goad, born in London in 1848, moved to Canada in 1869 and published fire insurance plans of all Canadian towns and cities with a population of over 500. He returned to England in 1886. His London company dominated the production of British fire insurance plans and mapped the centres of over fifty towns.